Handicap Bets to Watch for the World Cup Qualifiers Matchday 3

Belgium vs Belarus: Belgium (-4)

The Den Dreef Stadium will be centre stage for the Belgian national team for the second time this week when they welcome Eastern Europeans Belarus to Leuven on Tuesday.

Wales left Flanders empty-handed on matchday one, and Roberto Martinez’s side will hope to send the Belarussian’s home in a similar fashion. Recent results suggest they could do so in emphatic style too, as they have scored an average of 4.8 goals in their last six World Cup Qualifying home matches, with some notable results including 9-0 wins over San Marino and Gibraltar, hitting Cyprus for six and a 5-1 success over Iceland. Even if the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne are rested, those in reserve are more than capable, as some of the aforementioned big wins came with rotated lineups being selected.

Belarus are also a much weaker side away from Minsk, having only won four competitive matches in over five years on their travels, all against sides below them in the world rankings. In recent games against more established sides, they let in five against Romania and four against both Germany and the Dutch.

Their form coming into the game is a slight worry too, having just scraped past a weakened Estonia side which was down to ten-men at the weekend.

At either full-strength or second-string, we think Belgium are one of the best bets to record a big win this week, our tip is Belgium (-4) at 11/4.

World Cup Qualifier Predictions

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BELGIUM (-4) @ 5/2

Gibraltar vs Netherlands: Gibraltar (+4)

Frank de Boer’s Netherlands side will travel to the Rock on matchday three, as all three points will be expected when they face minnows Gibraltar.

This week’s internationals have provided us with some games that were a lot closer than we would have expected, while many minnow nations have managed to get on the scoresheet or even take points from much bigger nations. Gibraltar were one of the sides who got a rare qualifying goal, in Podgorica at the weekend, which gave them something to remember from their 4-1 defeat to Montenegro. They have shown remarkable improvements recently, shown by the fact a (+4) handicap would have given them a win in all of their last eight fixtures.

On the other hand, despite winning, the Dutch showed their inefficiency in front of goal at the weekend, scoring just two goals from 35 shots against Latvia, a recurring theme of late, as they have scored just 12 goals in ten games, and have only won four matches by a four-goal margin or greater since 2016. They will definitely win here, but do not be surprised if Gibraltar keeps the score down.

Gibraltar (+4) is available at odds of 2/1 here.

World Cup Qualifier Predictions

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GIBRALTAR (+4) @ 2/1

Luxembourg vs Portugal: Portugal (-2)

Off the back of a historic, once-in-a-lifetime win over the Republic of Ireland at the weekend, Luxembourg will now turn attentions to European Champions Portugal, who are looking to overcome bitter disappointment in the aftermath of their previous match against Serbia.

That memorable win in Dublin was their second away WCQ win in 84 years, and saw them register just a third clean sheet in 68 attempts. While they will certainly be riding the crest of a wave, they must ensure that their campaign does not peak and come crashing down from here on in, with a mean attacking force next up.

Portugal’s endless list of forward threats will provide a much sterner test than the toothless Irish display on Saturday, and they will be fired up having been robbed of a late winner in Belgrade when the linesman failed to spot Cristiano Ronaldo’s late effort, had in fact, crossed the line. There have been ten meetings between the sides since 2004, with Portugal winning all ten, winning by three or more goals on seven occasions.

Things are unlikely to get any better than the current high Luxembourg find themselves on, and we expect Portugal to bring them back down to earth here, following suit with recent head-to-head results, winning with (-2) handicap, priced at 11/8.

World Cup Qualifier Predictions

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PORTUGAL (-2) @ 5/4

Turkey vs Latvia: Turkey (-3)

Turkey will look to round off the international break from heaven when they welcome Latvia to Istanbul, following on from two high profile wins over the two main challengers in Group G.

All the post-draw hype was directed towards Erling Haaland’s Norway being the closest challengers to the Dutch in this group, which was an injustice to a Turkey side that went shoulder-to-shoulder with France in Euro 2021 qualifying. They took four points off the world champions there, and they have already recorded wins over both Norway and the Netherlands, in emphatic fashion too, scoring seven goals in the process, showing collective effort is better than the individual.

A win over Latvia will put them clearly in the driving seat to not only finish in the top two, but to win the group. The Baltic nation are not expected to offer much of a challenge to the Turks, having lost their opening two fixtures, they appear to be going down the same route as their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign did, in which they lost their first nine games.

Latvia conceded 59 shots in their two games against the Dutch and Montenegro, so if Turkey can be more efficient in taking their chances, then expect a rout here.

Turkey (-3) is 2/1.

World Cup Qualifier Predictions

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TURKEY (-3) @ 15/8

Lithuania vs Italy: Italy (-4)

Another side looking to make it three wins from three in this opening set of World Cup Qualifiers is Italy, and they face a trip to Vilnius to face bottom-seeds Lithuania next.

Roberto Mancini’s men have won their last four games 2-0, but they have enjoyed some big wins over their incredible unbeaten run which has now stretched to two and a half years. 6-0 and 5-0 wins over Liechtenstein, 6-0 over Moldova and a 9-1 destruction of Armenia are the most noteworthy, going against the grain of the old-school Italian-way of defence first.

Lithuania have had a torrid week so far, after losing 4-0 in Kosovo, they travelled to Switzerland for their opening qualifier and lost again. The Azzurri are not the side they want to be facing next when trying to overturn a run of poor results.

The last top-seeds Lithuania faced in a qualifying section was Portugal, and they put 11 past them over two games. With the attacking flair Italy have to offer, a similar fate could await Valdas Urbonas’ side. Italy (-4) is 13/2.

By Andrew Delaney

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